Kids Listening to Music While Doing Their Work

Dear Carrie

What are your thoughts on your kids listening to music while doing their work?

My kids listen to their own music playlists. I would prefer classical music, if anything. I find it distracting, personally. How can you fully concentrate on something you are reading with music that has words? I guess my question is, what are your thoughts on your kids listening to music while doing their work?

Sincerely,

“Ms. Please Help Me with Kids Wanting to Listen to Music While Doing Their Work”

Dear “Ms. Please Help Me with Kids Wanting to Listen to Music While Doing Their Work,”

This is a great question and is one we have grappled with too over many years of homeschooling! We give our boys a lot more autonomy in this area once they get to high school. Prior to the student reaching the high school years, my husband and I have decided that music is distracting to the rest of us who are nearby, often slows the student down, makes the student less able to listen to the teacher’s voice, and also often affects the child’s work negatively causing them to lose attention to detail and rush through their work to get to the music.

High school marks a change in our response to our kids listening to music while doing work.

Prior to high school, we have our boys dock their iPods during school hours. Once they get to the early years of high school, we let them listen to music during inspirational type subjects. When they get to the later years of high school, we don’t monitor it and let them choose what they think is best as to when they listen to music and when they do not. They are required to wear ear buds/headphones when listening. With these few guidelines, we have had good success with making music an option during schoolwork.

Blessings,
Carrie

Encouragement for Meeting NCAA Requirements and Foreign Language Credits

Dear Carrie

Can you provide encouragement for meeting NCAA requirements and explain how to count foreign language credits?

Dear Carrie,

My son will enter 9th grade using World Geography. I’m planning ahead. He’d like to play baseball in college, and I need some help with NCAA. I’ve called them for a list of approved curriculum, but they can’t give me one. My son wants to continue with how he’s been learning with Heart of Dakota and not have to go to a textbook. I want that too. I’ve talked to the NCAA homeschool department with questions. They’ve reassured me they just will be looking if the courses are college prep. If they have questions about resources (living books vs. textbooks), they aren’t going to throw it out.

I’ve worked on the core course worksheets. I have found the course descriptions etc. in the front of the WG guide to be invaluable. The thoroughness of the information passes the scrutiny of anyone who is evaluating the courses for content. One exception is the 1/2 credit per year of foreign language. I guess I just need encouragement and wonder how to handle the foreign language?

Sincerely,

“Ms. Please Give Encouragement for Help with NCAA & Foreign Language”

Dear “Ms. Please Give Encouragement for Help with NCAA & Foreign Language,”

You asked for encouragement!  I have some. I wanted to first briefly share the story of a family who emailed us about a similar topic. The family of more than 10 children has been using HOD with their two oldest since they were in the third grade. The second oldest son was a heavily recruited football player who received many academic scholarships and football offers. The family shared that they received nothing but praise from the numerous colleges he was accepted into (over 25) for the quality of his education and how it was reflected in his test scores, transcripts, and essays.

After being accepted into numerous NCAA universities, he signed with the NCAA college of his choice. The family emailed us to share how thankful they were for HOD, and its part in where their sons are now. We truly love this family, and we were so happy for them and their children’s success, praise be to God!

Encouragement for Meeting NCAA Requirements

I share this to encourage you that schooling with HOD through high school with thoughts of college sports and NCAA requirements in mind is possible. What the Lord desires for our children will come to pass, as nothing can circumvent the Lord’s plan!

Counting Foreign Language Credits

I will also mention that as far as counting foreign language goes, you can easily award a full credit in the year the student completes the credit rather than listing foreign language as a half credit each year for 4 years. So the student could list a full credit of Spanish I as a sophomore and then a full credit of Spanish II as a senior.

Course Descriptions and Grading Aid in Helping You in This Process

Also, the course descriptions and grading for each subject at the beginning of the guide are excellent for proving where you got your grades, as you have already discovered. You can print those pages from the HOD website to turn in. Most guides have over 50 pages of descriptions in the Introductions which are hugely helpful in this process. They were written to aid you in college entrance. We are excited for your son’s future, and we can’t wait to see what the Lord has planned for him!

Blessings,

Carrie

Third Grade: A Change in Attitude and in Work

Dear Carrie

What kind of change in attitude and in work do third grade students experience?

My sister-in-law was homeschooled and has graduated 3 kids. Now, she has 3 more she is still homeschooling. She once told me that around 3rd grade all of her kids just had a less positive attitude. My oldest is now starting 3rd grade in Heart of Dakota. I don’t really tolerate complaining or outbursts. But then, she has enough self-control to control those things. I can tell she is frustrated sometimes. This is usually when she is not doing school, but when we are talking about whether we will do it tomorrow. While we are actually doing school, she seems to have a really good attitude and enjoy it.

In school, since she is older, she has more work to do than her younger sisters who are in Little Hearts for His Glory. Some of my older daughter’s work in Bigger Hearts is not easy for her. I guess I have increased what I am expecting of her. For example, I am now trying to encourage her to use better penmanship. Is this just a normal transition? It is really hard for her to sit down and focus on something with 3 younger siblings running around. During some of her work the younger ones are off doing other things, like watching a video. I know she is jealous they get to do that. I guess my question is, what kind of change in attitude and in work do third grade students experience?

Sincerely,

“Ms. Please Help Me with What Changes to Expect with My Third Grade Student’s Attitude and Work”

Dear “Ms. Please Help Me with What Changes to Expect with My Third Grade Student’s Attitude and Work,”

There are definitely several things to keep in mind in looking at kiddos’ ages and stages. One is that grades K-2 are typically grouped together with K being a bit of a transition from the “fun” of preschool to the “work” of formal school. This is followed by 1st grade where kiddos are often ready for a bit more “real” school and are better prepared to handle a bit more attention-span wise. Then, in grade 2 they are even more ready (and grade 2 is not as much new as grade 1), so they seem to handle grade 2 better. After that comes the next big step up in grades 3-5. :D

Third grade is a change because there are many new skills.

Third grade is almost all new with many skills the kiddos have never had before in all areas. The day lengthens and more is expected. So, third grade is often a crucial year. It is hard work for the kiddos. Add to that the fact that they are often coming off of a care-free summer, and the workload and mental activity seems even more stressful because it is almost a direct contrast to what their summer days felt like. Plus, if you add to that a new wake and sleep cycle, new eating times, and less free time, you can easily see why our little 8-9 years old aren’t exactly “skipping through the tulips” in the initial weeks of school (no matter how fabulous the curriculum might be)! :D I must admit to having a bit of a transition myself when we head back to school after summer! :wink:

Third grade is an opportunity to shape and mold good habits.

As a public school teacher, I taught quite a few different grades, but 3rd grade was my longest stint at 9 years. I loved third grade because you have such an opportunity to shape and mold good habits, train kiddos to be attentive, work on character, and really see a difference in the child by year-end. On the flip side, it also can be an opportunity to battle with kiddos daily if you look at this as a daily battle of the wills instead of a training opportunity. :D That is why this year will be so important not only academically, but also character issue-wise. It is where your little people learn how to be big helpers and good listeners. They learn how to work even when they may not feel like it. They can begin to be trained in daily obedience and in curbing their wills to glorify their Father in heaven rather than seeking to glorify their own wants and needs. It is a huge transition year that takes much parenting and much patience! :D

Devote needed time to character and academic training, and you will make huge strides with your third grade child!

If you happen to have a third grade child, I encourage you to settle in for the long haul. Know each day will be new training ground. However, by the end of the year, you will have made huge strides forward if you devote the needed time to character and academic training. The fruit of this daily training will follow you into the next guide and the next guide after that. By the time you walk through these important middle training years, you will also have built a close relationship with your child. :D

This is the opportunity homeschooling affords us, and it is not an easy one because it takes much time and effort! I wish each of you the stamina to do what is needed each day and the patience to train your children both academically and spiritually. As we travel this road together, let’s remember that we have the added blessing that each day is made new through our heavenly Father. So, if you’ve had a hard day, you can remember that tomorrow is a new day! :D

Blessings,
Carrie

Update from “Ms. Please Help Me with What Changes to Expect with My Third Grade Student’s Attitude and Work”

Carrie, thanks for sharing your thoughts and your experiences! Just yesterday we had one of those heartwarming moments! My 8 year old and I were curled up on the couch for her read-aloud time. She hugged me and said, “Mom I’m so glad you’re my teacher! I think you are the best Mom and teacher for me.” That encouraged me. It is more work, and she is really growing and that is good to see. I pray for character. I can see that this time is really critical in developing her character. May God give me inspiration, patience, wisdom, and peace. And again thanks, I cannot say how much I appreciate your wisdom along this homeschooling journey!

Economics in U.S. History II

Dear Carrie

How long does U.S. History II’s Economics take, and what types of assignments go with it?

We’ve enjoyed using Heart of Dakota for a decade now. Like always about this time of year, I am starting to think about next year. I was wondering about the Economics in U.S. History II. How long does it take each day? What types of assignments go along with it? Thanks!

Sincerely,

“Ms. Please Describe Economics in U.S. History II”

Dear “Ms. Please Describe Economics in U.S. History II,”

The assignments vary with the books that the students are using. The opening 14-15 weeks have students watching Money-Wise DVD segments and doing corresponding video viewing guides, discussions, and assignments. These sessions average around 30-35 minutes daily. Occasionally, some days are 5-10 min. longer if the students are viewing a longer video and recording information. Once weekly, students read and annotate from Larry Burkett’s Money Matters for Teens. These days are shorter.

After moving through the Money-Wise DVD/guide sessions, students move on to reading Economics: A Free Market Reader and answering daily questions that pertain to the reading. Questions range from comprehension to application to research. The daily sessions hover around 25-30 minutes at that point, depending on how fast a child reads. The rest of the year will follow a similar pattern as the students move through the remaining Economics Resources.

I hope that helps!! My son truly enjoyed the Economics and Finance combination in U.S. History II. He talked with my husband almost daily about one or both of these subjects. We think it is timely for students to be studying Economics and Finance their senior year as they prepare for adult life. We couldn’t be more pleased with the connections between the two subjects. I found the study of these two subjects extremely entertaining as well as I planned them (and neither area was a love of mine previously)!

Blessings,
Carrie

P.S. For more general information about Heart of Dakota, click here!

Should I start Little Hands if my son doesn’t comprehend its Bible well?

Dear Carrie

Should I begin Little Hands to Heaven if my son doesn’t seem ready to comprehend the children’s Bible in it well?

I lurk on the Heart of Dakota Message Board! I’ve gotten a lot of great insight there! My daughter is using Little Hearts, and she also used Little Hands, which we loved. My question is about my son. He’s 4, and he knows all his letters, sounds, shapes, etc. However, he struggles with listening. I haven’t started Little Hands (LHTH) for this very reason. I tried out the Bible from LHTH for his evening devotions. He really struggled to answer any questions after the reading. I think it is partly a disciplinary issue as well. After all, he can sit and listen attentively to a Thomas the Train book! I’d like to get him started in LHTH, but I’m concerned about his (lack of) listening and comprehension. So, should I begin Little Hands to Heaven if my son doesn’t seem ready to comprehend the children’s Bible in it well?

Sincerely,

“Ms. Please Help Me Choose When to Start Little Hands”

Dear “Ms. Please Help Me Choose When to Start Little Hands,”

I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed Heart of Dakota with your daughter and will now begin it with your son! I just want to encourage you that it isn’t uncommon for young boys to struggle a bit with listening to Bible stories at first. This is because Bible stories have a harder vocabulary, have a much less predictable storyline, and do not have as many repetitive words or characters as stories like Thomas the Tank Engine do. So, listening to a Bible story is actually an exercise in higher level listening for a little child.

Comprehension can be influenced by the time of day.

How well a child comprehends a Bible story reading will also differ depending on what time of day the little one is asked to listen to the story. By bedtime, little ones are often weary, both physically and mentally. So, trying to process something new at that time is more work. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read aloud Bible stories at bedtime. It just means that we can expect less comprehension at that time of day as opposed to when the child is fresher, earlier in the day.

Children develop the skills to listen to Bible stories, which are more difficult read alouds, in LHTH.

Listening to more difficult read alouds, like Bible stories, is a skill that takes time to develop. The beauty of LHTH is that you will actually be able to see this skill develop as you travel through the guide. Since your son is 4, I’d lean toward starting LHTH, doing it 4 days a week. At age 4, he would likely be able to handle a day of LHTH in a day, since it takes 30 minutes or less.

Children may struggle for awhile, but soon they begin to answer the Bible questions better and better.

You can expect that he will struggle to answer the questions from the Bible stories for awhile (and this is not exclusive to little boys)! My sisters and I were talking awhile back about how surprising it was when our little ones finally began to answer some of the Bible questions in LHTH (and my older sister has little girls).

You can reread the line of the story with the answer to help your child answer the question if need be.

Until your little one is able to answer the questions, after asking the question if no answer is forthcoming, you could reread the line of the story with the answer in it to help prod your little one. Then, if the answer still isn’t coming, just tell the answer in a questioning type way. For example, if the question is, “Who did Abraham marry?”, and if your little one doesn’t know, reread the line of the story that says the answer. If your little one still can’t answer, then say, “Did Abraham marry Sarah?” In this way, the child can still answer, “Yes” at least (giving the guise of answering the question).

I hope you enjoy Little Hands to Heaven with your son as much as we did with each of our sons!

Blessings,

Carrie